Archive for the ‘Homes & Gardens’ Category

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How to Start an Upholstery Business

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

How to Start an Upholstery Business Business Overview:

Learning how to start an upholstery business is the perfect part-time job for an entrepreneur who enjoys working with fabric to beautify a piece of furniture. The term upholstery applies to any fabric used to cover chairs and couches as well as seating and other surfaces on boats, cars and airplanes. While boats and cars typically are upholstered with leather or vinyl, home and office furniture is upholstered with softer fabric and uses foam for cushion. If you do not have any experience, an internet search for "start upholstery business" will turn up plenty of results that can help you get started. You do not need a storefront for your business but you will need a workshop area large enough to work on several pieces of furniture simultaneously. You will also need some special tools and equipment as well as a stock of commonly used supplies. Look online for upholstering kits that will come with all the tools you’ll need to get started and add items like screwdrivers, drills and pliers to make sure you’re able to make most repairs. Customers will typically supply the fabric but you should have a relationship with an upholstery fabric supplier so customers can purchase fabric through you if they choose. Business ideas like this one are great part-time ventures as you can take on as much or as little work as you feel comfortable with. If you will only work on items on the weekends, be sure to give your customers an accurate turnaround time. However, if your full-time business is furniture repair, adding upholstery repair to your list of services will greatly increase the value of your business and will build your client list.

A Day in the Life of an Upholstery Business Owner:

Your day will begin by checking on your current projects. You will work on items and either deliver them yourself or notify your customers that their items are ready to be picked up. You will spend some time marketing your business by distributing flyers around town.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be individuals or office managers who need furniture items reupholstered or need upholstery repair.

What You Need to Start:

  • Upholstery skills
  • Upholstery tools and supplies
  • Work space
  • Marketing materials
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Upholstery services will always be in demand.
  • Start-up investment is relatively low.
  • You can easily run this business part-time and from home.
  • You can charge top dollar for excellent work.
  • You are likely to see repeat and referral business.

The Bad:

  • There is plenty of competition in this industry; you will need to position yourself correctly to gain some of the market share.
  • You need to have some training with upholstery before working on other people’s furniture.

Resources:

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Works of Art: Starting Your Own Ice Sculpture Business

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

Starting Your Own Ice Sculpture Business Business Overview:

If you’re good with your hands and love making beautiful art, you should consider starting your own ice sculpture business and let others enjoy your work. An ice sculpture is a sculpture that uses ice as the material. Ice sculptures can be decorative or functional and are usually seen at weddings and other extravagant events due to their limited lifetime. Sculpting ice is a specialized skill but if you’re an artist who works with clay, wax or wood, you should be able to make a smooth transition to working with ice. You will need a few tools you typically won’t see in an artist’s studio such as a chainsaw, some chisels and a die grinder. Search your area for an ice house that sells ice that is clear and not cloudy. It’s important you start with clear ice so you end up with a clear sculpture. Consider working out some sort of discount deal with your ice supplier since you will be purchasing from him quite often. Business ideas like this one are only successful if the work is topnotch. So it’s important that before you try to sell your sculptures, you practice a great deal. Start with smaller blocks of ice and work your way up to large blocks. You’ll need to be familiar with what each tool does to ice and when to use each tool. Take pictures along the way so that when you’re ready to sell your first piece, you can put photos of your better sculptures in a portfolio (or on your website if you choose to have one) to show to potential clients. You’ll need to work out a delivery method to transport sculptures from your workshop to your clients’ venues. You can either purchase your own refrigerated truck or you can choose to hire a courier with a refrigerator truck to transport your ice sculptures. Make sure the transport vehicle has proper tie-downs so your sculptures are stable and make the trip safely. Market your business by talking with event planners and wedding coordinators in your area. Show them your portfolio or website and give them plenty of flyers that they can then show to their clients. Your marketing materials need to include your price structure so customers know what to expect. You could have a few pieces that you specialize set at one price and if a client wants something unusual for their event (or just something not on your list) you would charge more. You may quickly find that your ice sculptures are the talk of the town and you’ll then be able to raise your prices.

A Day in the Life of an Ice Sculpture Business Owner:

Your day will begin with a check of any orders you need to complete that day. Depending on how quickly you sculpt, you may only be able to do one or two sculptures a day and you will need a large freezer if you plan to keep them at your workshop for very long. This means you will probably sculpt and deliver pieces in the same day. You will arrange for transport of your sculptures and stay in contact with your clients to make sure the venue is prepared for delivery. On days you are not sculpting, you will work on marketing your business.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be event planners, brides and anyone else needing an amazing centerpiece for their elaborate event.

What You Need to Start:

  • Ice sculpting skills
  • Relationship with an ice house
  • Sculpting tools
  • Method of transporting sculptures
  • Marketing materials
  • Website (optional)
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • For an artist, sculpting ice is a fun way to show your skills.
  • You can easily run this business part-time.
  • Start-up investment is relatively small.
  • You can charge top dollar for your sculptures.
  • It’s rewarding to provide beautiful ice sculptures to your clients for their events.

The Bad:

  • If you’re not already a skilled ice sculptor, you will need to spend some time honing your skills.
  • It can take some time to sell your first few pieces.

Resources:

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How to Start a Furniture Cleaning Business

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

How to Start a Furniture Cleaning Business Business Overview:

If you’re looking for a great part-time business that you can start with very little start-up capital, consider learning how to start a furniture cleaning business. If you don’t have any experience with upholstery cleaning, it’s simple to learn by reading how-to websites and books. Start out by cleaning your own furniture and that of family and friends to get some practice. You’ll need materials like brushes, sponges, upholstery shampoo, buckets, vacuums, etc. If you already run a furniture business such as a retail store or a restoration business, adding upholstery cleaning to your list of services will add value to your business and attract a wider range of clientele. Be sure to market your new business by distributing flyers around town in places like grocery stores, dry cleaners and community centers. Everyone has furniture and from time to time it needs to be cleaned. Homeowners will gladly pay a professional to handle this task for them. Furniture cleaning is one of the best part-time business ideas available because it doesn’t require very much start-up capital. You only need to invest in some equipment, supplies and marketing materials. Once the word spreads of your quality services, you’ll get plenty of referral business. You may find demand grows to the point of expanding your business to full-time and hiring additional staff to help you with the cleaning.

A Day in the Life of a Furniture Cleaning Business Owner:

Your day will begin by checking your appointments. You (or your staff) will travel to your customers’ homes and perform upholstery cleaning services. You will spend some time marketing your business by placing flyers around town.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will typically be homeowners needing furniture cleaned, although you may also serve second-hand stores, apartment managers and business managers.

What You Need to Start:

  • Business plan
  • Marketing materials
  • Insurance
  • Cleaning crew (optional)
  • Vehicle
  • Cleaning supplies and equipment
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Furniture cleaning services will always be in high demand.
  • The start-up investment is low.
  • You can easily run this business part-time.
  • You can hire a crew to handle the cleaning for you.
  • As demand grows, you can transition to a full-time business and add personnel.

The Bad:

  • The work can be labor intensive.
  • It can take some time to build your client base.

Resources:

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How to Run a Storage Shed Business

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

How to Run a Storage Shed Business Business Overview:

Consider learning how to run a storage shed business if you have an eye for design, love the outdoors and are looking to start a smart part-time business. Storage sheds, also called garden sheds, are typically single-level one-room structures used to store lawn and garden equipment. A back yard shed can also be used as a workshop or a place to work on a hobby like sewing or scrapbooking. There are so many options for storage sheds today that there is simply no excuse for any homeowner to have an unsightly shed in his or her backyard. Sheds can be custom-built or sold in kit form to be assembled and installed by the homeowner. However, assembly and installation is not always a simple task; many homeowners will gladly pay a professional to handle these tasks. Since you will be purchasing your sheds and shed kits directly from wholesalers and manufacturers, you will receive a large discount. You will then sell your sheds to your customers at a marked-up rate and also offer assembly and installation services for an additional charge. Business ideas like this one work best with a website showing all the models you sell so the customers have a good idea of what the finished product will look like. You could also offer a display area if you have the property to showcase the sheds. Offer sheds in different styles, sizes and price points to fit the needs of a wider range of customers. Some people may just need a small shed to keep their lawn mower and gardening equipment dry; others may need a larger, air-conditioned/heated space to use as an art studio. The more flexible you are with your inventory, the more clients you will attract. Market your business by distributing flyers at local home improvement stores, lawn and garden centers and lawn mower repair shops. You may also hand out flyers door-to-door in your area targeting neighborhoods with large back yards. Once business picks up, you’ll need to hire a staff to help keep up with demand and consider taking your business full-time.

A Day in the Life of a Storage Shed Business Owner:

You will start your day by reviewing your appointments. You or your staff will meet your customers at their houses with the pre-made shed or a shed kit they ordered and assemble it. You will spend a portion of your day reviewing new models, talking with distributors and placing orders. You will also look for new ways to market your business. If you have a display set up, you’ll want to have you or a staff member on site to help show the sheds to your customers.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will typically be homeowners who need a storage shed to house various items in their backyards.

What You Need to Start:

  • Familiarity with storage shed kits, assembly and installation (or you can hire a staff to do all the work for you)
  • Website
  • Truck to transport sheds and equipment to job sites
  • Staff (optional)
  • Display area (optional)
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Sheds offer homeowners an inexpensive way to add storage space to their home so many people look to purchase them.
  • Sheds come in all shapes and sizes and can be marketed as storage for a variety of items which makes your target market fairly large.
  • You can charge top dollar for assembly and installation services.
  • You can easily run this business part-time.
  • You can start out running this business solo and add personnel as demand grows.

The Bad:

  • This is likely a seasonal business if you live in a Northern climate as most people won’t buy storage sheds in the cold weather months.
  • Storage shed assembly can be hard work.

Resources:

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Starting an Above Ground Pool Business

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

Starting an Above Ground Pool Business Business Overview:

If you love working outside and are looking for a terrific seasonal business, consider starting an above ground pool business. An above ground pool sits in a backyard much the way an in-ground pool does except there is no hole to be dug into the ground. All you need is a patch of level ground and you can install an above ground pool. However, without the right skills and expertise, installation can be extremely difficult. Above ground pools can be just as large as in-ground pools and are made of steel, resin, aluminum, wood. In order to show customers a few of their options, you’ll need to have a showroom with some displays. Obviously these will not be full-sized displays but will give customers an idea of how each material looks and how it’s put together. You will also need to carry (or be able to order) accessories like steps, covers, liners, heaters and fencing. If you can also install beautiful decking around your pools, you will add major profits to your business. You can work with a third party to build decks for your pools if you don’t want to use your staff for that part of the business. In addition to pools and pool accessories, you’ll also need to stock pool chemicals and offer water testing services. Above ground pools are typically less expensive than in-ground pools but that does not mean they are cheap. A large steel pool can cost around $5,000 USD. Add to that installation costs and accessories and you can see this can be a great business idea worth exploring. In cooler climates, this will likely be a seasonal business but if you offer closing and opening services, you can boost your profits further.

A Day in the Life of an Above Ground Pool Business Owner:

Your day will begin by opening your store. You will help customers throughout the day decide on what type of above ground pool best meets their needs. You will coordinate installation with your installers.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be individuals looking for high quality above ground pools and installation services.

What You Need to Start:

  • Business plan
  • Storefront
  • Display pools
  • Accessories
  • Pool chemicals
  • Staff
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Above ground pools offer a less expensive alternative to in-ground pools.
  • It’s rewarding to give a customer just what they’re looking for.
  • You can hire a staff to do most of the work for you.
  • You can start out small and build your business as demand increases.

The Bad:

  • The start-up costs are high.
  • It can take some time to turn a profit.

Resources:

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Three Things to Know Before You Start a Pool Maintenance Business

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

Pool Maintenance Business Business Overview:

Open a pool maintenance business and use your knowledge and experience to help pool and spa owners keep their investments clean and refreshing. Pools and spas take a lot of attention to keep them in pristine condition. And it takes an expert with plenty of experience to guide pool owners in their quest for a blue and sparkling pool. If you have worked in a pool store or as a cleaning technician for a pool company, owning your own pool maintenance business is the next logical step. You will need to have expertise with both above-ground pools and in-ground pools. Particularly in the summer months, offering pool consulting services is one of the best business ideas you can find. There are so many different types of pool chemicals available and the layperson simply doesn’t have the expertise to know how much of what to put in the pool. There are home testing kits and charts and a pool owner can make an educated guess as to what chemicals to add and when, but having a go-to person who they trust causes many pool owners to gladly pay for this service. You won’t need a storefront for your maintenance business since you—or your staff—will be traveling to your clients’ pools to do chemical correction, cleaning and other pool maintenance. Put large advertisements on your truck or van and let them do the marketing for you as you drive around town. Find out which pool stores in town do not offer water testing and contract your services with them so that their clients are referred to you for chemical services and cleaning. If you choose to buy chemicals in bulk, you will need a storage facility that is separate from your house (garage, off-site storage locker, etc.) in case of a spill. You could also choose to buy chemicals as you need them from a pool store. Depending on the climate you live in, the pool business could be seasonal. In the warmest climates, pools are open and in need of regular maintenance all winter but in cooler climates, pool owners close their pools during the winter. Consider adding pool closing and pool opening to your list of services so you can earn extra profits during the cooler months.

A Day in the Life of a Pool Store Business Owner:

You will spend your day during the busy time of year traveling to your clients’ homes to check chemicals and clean pools—unless you’ve hired staff to do this work for you. You will also spend some time marketing your business.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be pool and spa owners in need of expert pool care and chemical consultations.

What You Need to Start:

  • Experience with pool chemicals (or a trained staff)
  • Truck or van
  • Water testing equipment
  • Chemicals
  • Storage facility for chemicals (or you could just buy them as you need them)
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Pool maintenance services are essential for pool owners.
  • Pool owners will gladly pay for experienced professionals to care for their pools.
  • The start-up costs are relatively low.
  • Your customers will likely hire your business to perform regular maintenance/cleaning which means a steady income.
  • You can boost your profits by offering additional services like pool closing and opening.

The Bad:

  • It can take some time to build your client base.
  • This business can be seasonal depending on your area’s climate.

Resources:

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A Refreshing Business Idea: Open a Pool Store

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

Open a Pool Store Business Overview:

Swimming pools are big business and if you have experience in sales or pool service, it would be a wise business decision to open a pool store. You don’t even need to live in a warm climate to operate a successful pool business. Heated pools and spas are popular in cooler climates and there’s always the option of indoor pools to keep swimmers out of the elements. Since a pool store is a large investment, it’s a good idea to draft a solid business plan to keep you on track. Determine what type of pool store you will operate, what other items you will stock and what services you will offer. The largest part of your business will be pool sales and installations so it’s important that you have a working knowledge of in-ground pools and what is needed to install them. You can contract the actual installation with a third party construction company but your business will need to consult with the customer about what type of pool they want, how much land is needed, what type of filtration equipment they will need, etc. Other than pools, you can also sell spas and even display a few in your store if you have space. Outdoor furniture is also a nice addition to your inventory and it gives customers the option of buying everything they need for their outdoor entertaining area at your store. Your pool store should also stock maintenance items like skimming nets, skimmer baskets, vacuums and poles and you need to have a relationship with the major pool parts distributors so you can order larger items like sand filters and vinyl liners. A third area of your business will be pool chemicals. Pool owners will come to your store for water analysis and to purchase chlorine and various other corrective chemicals. In cooler climates, pool owners tend to close their outdoor pools for the winter so your business should also offer pool closing and opening services if your customers need it. In warmer climates pools stay open year-round which means a steady stream of customers even in the winter months. Homeowners are not your only target market; you will also sell to apartment managers, athletic facilities, parks and schools. Anyone who wants to install a pool or needs chemicals and supplies for their pool will need to come to your store. Particularly if you live in a warm climate, a pool store is one of the best business ideas you can start since pool owners simply cannot go it alone.

A Day in the Life of a Pool Store Business Owner:

Your day will begin by opening up your store. You will spend the day helping customers find what they need in the way of supplies, accessories and chemicals. You will consult with potential customers interested in buying a spa or installing a pool and you will check in on any pool installations that are ongoing. You will order parts from your distributors and check to see if any new items have become available.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be pool owners and those looking to install a pool or purchase a spa.

What You Need to Start:

  • Business plan
  • Storefront
  • Pool installation services (can contract with third party)
  • Maintenance items (vacuums, replacement parts, skimmer baskets, etc.)
  • Accessories (floats, thermometers, toys, etc.)
  • Chemicals
  • Water testing equipment/personnel
  • Staff
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • The pool business is casual, fun and exciting.
  • It’s rewarding to help people get the sparkling pools they desire.
  • In warmer climates, pool services are necessary year-round.
  • You can sell items like spas and pool furniture to boost profits.
  • Selling pool installations is big business and can earn your company big profits.

The Bad:

  • The start-up investment is high.
  • It could take some time to turn a profit.

Resources:

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Starting a Garden Furniture Business

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

Starting a Garden Furniture Business Business Overview:

Starting a garden furniture business is a wonderful way to help people enjoy the great outdoors while you enjoy the freedom of owning your own business. When the weather is nice, everyone wants to be outside and what better way to enjoy comfortable temperatures than to relax in high quality outdoor furniture. As a garden furniture business owner, you are able to choose the items you want to sell, perhaps the items you enjoy yourself. However, if you are not interested in making a lot of choices about what items to carry, you can purchase a franchise business. This option may be a little more costly but it comes with a stock of items as well as name recognition. Some franchises have licensing agreements with colleges so you can sell furniture with your local colleges’ logos on them. If you live in a college town, those could be big sellers. You could also offer special orders to those fans who live far away from their favorite school. Research buying habits of those in your area to help you decide what type of furniture to carry. If you live in a city where everyone has large back yards, you should carry larger, multiple piece sets. However, if back yard space is limited or if most people in your area live in apartment buildings with only a patio, you might want to carry smaller sets. Focusing on a niche is the best way to be successful with this type of business idea. If opening an entire store of your own sounds like more than you want to invest in, you could choose to place your items in a larger store. Similar to placing items in a larger traditional furniture store or lighting store, you would pay a portion of your profits to the store owner but you would not be responsible for operating the store. Another option is operating your garden furniture business online. Although you would not need a storefront for your business, you would need a large storage facility for your furniture. With a robust website, you could run your business both online and from a store. As you can see, there are many options available for opening a garden furniture store that could translate into a very lucrative business.

A Day in the Life of a Garden Furniture Business Owner:

If you operate a storefront, you will arrive early and ensure your displays are set up correctly. You will likely have a small staff to help you assemble new displays and accept shipments. If you have an arrangement with a larger furniture shop, you will need to check in on your display area and ensure everything is set up correctly and assist any customers. If your business is online, you will be able to make your own hours but it’s important to check new orders a few times a day and arrange shipments in a timely manner. You will need to maintain your website, adding new items as needed.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be individuals looking for high quality outdoor furniture for their homes and apartments.

What You Need to Start:

  • Storefront, arrangement with furniture store and/or website
  • Franchise agreement (optional)
  • Relationship with furniture manufacturers and distributors
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Garden furniture will always be in demand.
  • You can select a niche that best fits your area.
  • Franchises are available to help you get started.
  • You can operate this business in a storefront and/or online.
  • As an industry insider, you have access to the newest trends and designs.

The Bad:

  • The start-up investment can be quite high.
  • It can take some time to make your first few sales and turn a profit.

Resources:

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Three Great Reasons to Start a Vacation House Swap Business

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

Vacation House Swap Business Business Overview:

Starting a vacation house swap business is an excellent way to offer a much needed service while building your own low maintenance business. House swapping is the practice of trading homes with another homeowner and in any economy, this practice is cost effective and wise on many levels. Similar to house sitting, you would let a vacationing couple or family stay in your house and you would stay in theirs. But how do you find homes available for swapping? Build a website and offer memberships that allow your clients to list their homes and find homes available in places they are looking to visit on vacation. Using a service like this would easily save a family thousands of dollars on hotels during their stay. This is one of the most helpful business ideas available. The Internet makes this type of service simple to operate from your home or anywhere in the world. There is competition, however, so you should look into offering vacation house swaps in a certain niche to attract more people in one target market. You might concentrate on offering only “green” homes, homes that allow pets, homes that are adults-only or offer wheelchair access. Chances are a family who lives in a green home would enjoy (and prefer) to stay in another green home while on vacation. It’s a lot like a dating service; you’re just matching up people based on their needs and charging them a monthly membership fee. The best part about this online business idea is that once your site is up and running, your membership will grow and you will make money automatically from monthly membership fees. How and where you advertise your site will depend on your target market. If your market is people with children, consider putting ads in magazines and on websites like Parents and Cookie. You’ll find that once a couple or family uses your house swap service and has a great vacation, they will come back again and again which means continued monthly payments and an income with very little day-to-day work on your part.

A Day in the Life of a Vacation House Swap Business Owner:

Your day will begin with a check of your website to see if any new members joined. You will check user comments to see if a problem needs to be addressed or if you have an unsatisfied customer that you need to contact. Since you only make money when members keep paying, you will need to have excellent customer service. You will spend most of your time looking into new ways to advertise your business.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be couples and families looking to trade homes for vacation. They will pay you a monthly membership fee to gain access to your members and their home listings.

What You Need to Start:

  • Business plan
  • Website
  • Marketing plan
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Once it’s up and running, your website will do all the work for you.
  • This is such a money-saver for your customers, they will be happy to pay a higher monthly fee to have access to a greater number of homes that meet their needs (pet friendly, for example).
  • Startup costs are low.
  • You can easily run this business part-time and from home.
  • It is rewarding to offer such a valuable service and hear from satisfied customers.

The Bad:

  • It’s a competitive market so you will need to set yourself apart.
  • It may take some time to build up your membership.

Resources:

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A Bright Idea: Opening a Lighting Store

Looking for Capital to Start Your Business?

Are you wondering how to obtain small business financing so that you can turn your dream business into a reality? Would you like to know the best ways to obtain small business loans? Or maybe you want to know more about angel investors or venture capitalists. We highly encourage you to read our review of three solid resources that can help you with your new business financing in our article, Small Business Financing: How to Obtain the Capital You Need to Start Your Business.

Opening a Lighting Store Business Overview:

Opening a lighting store could be a profitable business idea for an opportunity—savvy entrepreneur. By opening a lighting store, you will sell interior and exterior lighting products. Upgrading or replacing light fixtures has recently become one of the most popular forms of home improvement for many homeowners because it’s a type of improvement that is fairly inexpensive, and that can have a beneficial effect on the appearance of their homes. Therefore if you approach this business in the right way you can definitely cash in on this trend and earn a respectable profit. You are likely to face competition, so you will need to ensure that you offer excellent products and fantastic customer service to make your shop stand out. Potentially you could also seize the opportunities offered by established stores in your community that sell related products by forming a joint venture with them. For example you could form a partnership with a furniture store or paint and wallpaper store, and attach your lighting shop to their store—thus saving floor space and taking advantage of your partners’ existing reputation and clientele. This is an approach that could work particularly well because lighting stores typically don’t require a lot of floor space. Whichever approach you take, opening a lighting store can definitely be a successful and nicely profitable venture so long as you’re creative and committed to making your store a success.

A Day in the Life of a Lighting Store Business Owner:

Lighting stores usually operate within typical retail hours, so as a lighting store business owner you will usually open up your shop around 9 a.m.—having arrived 15 minutes or so early to get set up. Throughout the day, customers will enter your shop and you will provide an excellent service, helping them find the right interior and/or exterior lighting products for their home or office. Your day will typically end at 6 p.m. when you would ensure that your store is clean and tidy, before shutting up ready to open again for business the next day. Other typical daily activities would include monitoring your inventory and placing new orders whenever stock levels ran low. You’ll also be monitoring your finances on a daily basis. You may also hire staff to serve customers and to open and close your lighting shop for you, as well as to assist you in the general maintenance and smooth running of your shop. In that case part of each day will be spent managing your employees and training them well. This will enable you to attend lighting trade shows so that you can keep up on the latest trends and offer your customers the most cutting edge lighting to be found.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will typically be homeowners looking to improve the appearance of their homes by purchasing new interior and/or exterior lighting products. Your customers may also be people looking for lighting products to make similar improvements to their offices or other types of buildings.

What You Need to Start:

  • Business plan
  • Marketing plan
  • Storefront
  • Inventory (interior and exterior lighting products, shades, a wide variety of bulbs, etc.)
  • Staff
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • It’s definitely a potentially profitable opportunity—upgrading interior and exterior lighting has become one of the most popular forms of home improvement.
  • You don’t need much floor space to open a lighting shop—so the start up costs are lower than for other retail business.
  • It’s excellently suited for forming joint ventures with other more established and related shops—you could share floor space with a furniture or painting and decorating store, for example.
  • The demand for interior and exterior lighting products is always going to be there.

The Bad:

  • It can be competitive, so you’ll need to be creative and offer excellent customer service to stand out against bigger and more established lighting stores.
  • It may take a while for you to see profits as it can take time to build up your reputation and client base.

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